Wed Mar 08 2023

The importance of representation & roles models in creating a generation of women in tech

This Women's Day, Xomnia is proud to partner with Equals Amsterdam's Role Model Campaign, which boasts posters of successful women in tech across Amsterdam and The Hague. Our Data Engineer Anna Dekker participated in the campaign, and wishes that women and girls who see her poster in Amsterdam's streets get encouraged and inspired to choose a career in tech.

In the following interview, Anna shares her thoughts and first hand experience as a woman in tech.

Tell us a bit about yourself

As a data engineer, I bring different data streams together to automate different types of processes and build cloud infrastructure. I love my job because I can see the tangible impact of my work on the daily lives of end-users, helping them unlock insights, save time, simplify and secure processes, and much more.

Who inspired you to pursue a career in data engineering?

Growing up, there were no female figures in data or tech that I knew of or looked up to. In fact, I never imagined that I will grow up to become a data engineer in the first place.

Fast forward to today, I want to give credit to my colleagues, who encouraged me to pursue this path, and inspired me with their passion and expertise in this field. A special shoutout goes to my grandmothers too. They unfortunately did not have the opportunity to pursue higher education, but have always been deeply interested in and encouraging about what I do. I regularly tell them about my job and they even know some features of the cloud!

Why do you think it is important for young women to have visible role models?

Role models help us break stereotypes surrounding different roles, and show us that, for instance, the tech world is so much more fun, creative and diverse than people may think. Having more female role models in tech can remove the layer of mystery shrouding this line of work, and show that it is quite accessible for anyone.

It's important to know, and see, that not all data engineers wear hoodies - Anna

What is your advice to your younger self?

Programming automatically includes failing (a lot). That can be very daunting in the beginning, especially if you are a perfectionist. It is really about learning to fail well, not letting yourself feel discouraged and carrying on! Try to make small steps, create some fun pet projects to play around with, and take these all the way if you like them!

What is your advice to any woman or girl who is interested in a career in data, tech or AI?

Anyone can be a programmer or data engineer. You do not have to be a math genius to program well. Data engineers lay the foundations of the AI revolution, and society's most pressing challenge nowadays, from the energy transition to the protection of biodiversity, rely on coding in one way or another. By encouraging young females to work in tech, we ensure that this foundation is built by a diverse group of builders, who are capable of delivering well-rounded outcomes.

Let's encourage girls and young women to pursue a career in data engineering.

Why did you choose to participate in the Role Model campaign?

I hope to contribute in making the tech world a go-to option for young girls, and in encouraging them to dream of a career in data engineering as much as other professions. I hope to show those who see my poster that coding and being feminine can go hand in hand, and that the tech world is so much more diverse, social and fun than people may think.